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Thoughts on the AP Poll: Duke women's basketball rises to No. 9 after 2-win week

Sophomore Shayeann Day-Wilson shoots a three against Pittsburgh.
Sophomore Shayeann Day-Wilson shoots a three against Pittsburgh.

After sweeping its week with wins against Pittsburgh and Notre Dame, a new AP Poll was released Monday afternoon. With Duke climbing to No. 9, the Blue Zone takes a look at the new rankings:

Duke climbs

While the Blue Devils struggled against a relatively weak Pittsburgh squad Thursday, they managed to pull out the late victory against the Panthers with strong defensive play and some clutch shots down the stretch. While Duke could have had a better showing against Pittsburgh, the Blue Devils had a big-time game against then-No. 7 Notre Dame Sunday afternoon, walking out of Purcell Pavilion with a 57-52 victory. Duke played an excellent defensive game, holding what has been a dangerous Notre Dame offense to just 40.4% from the field. The win in South Bend, Ind., was a statement against a very good ACC opponent, and Duke was rewarded in the rankings. The Blue Devils climbed to No. 9 in the poll. 

North Carolina slips

While the Tar Heels did win against Virginia this week, they struggled in their second game, falling 62-55 to Louisville Sunday. Sophomore guard Hailey Van Lith dropped 17 points for the Cardinals, who pulled out the win despite scoring only eight points in the second quarter. Losing to an unranked team, even a solid one like Louisville, hurt North Carolina in the rankings. It dropped to No. 14 this week.

Iowa State falls

The Cyclones had a very rough week, dropping both of their games to unranked teams. On Wednesday, they lost a nailbiter to Kansas State, 78-77. Despite guards Lexi Donarski and Ashley Joens dropping a combined 35 points, Iowa State could not surmount a monstrous 27-point game from Wildcat guard Gabby Gregory. In their 76-70 loss to Baylor Saturday, the Cyclones struggled to find offensive production from much of the team. Forward Nyamer Diew, Donarski and Joens combined for 60 points. The rest of the team scored just 10. Two unranked defeats, even close ones, punished Iowa State in the rankings as it fell to No. 21. 

Stanford stumbles

While the Cardinal did put together a blowout win on Friday, beating Washington State 71-38, Stanford struggled in its second game of the week, losing to a middling Washington team 72-67. Huskie guard Elle Ladine had an impressive game, dropping 21 points off the bench and leading both teams in scoring. The Cardinal took a rankings hit as a result of the Sunday loss, dropping to No. 6.

Complete rankings:

1. South Carolina

2. Indiana

3. LSU

4. UConn

5. Iowa

6. Stanford

7. Utah

8. Maryland

9. Duke

10. Notre Dame

11. Virginia Tech

12. Michigan

13. Ohio State

14. North Carolina

15. Villanova

16. Oklahoma

17. Arizona

18. UCLA

19. Florida State

20. Texas

21. Iowa State

22. N.C. State

23. Gonzaga

24. South Florida

25. Colorado


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